When most people think of the University of Washington’s Black Student Union (BSU), they probably imagine a student club that holds meetings and sponsors social events. During the late 1960s, however, the Black Student Union was anything but a typical student club. It was an unstoppable force for social change at the University of Washington and beyond.
The early history of the BSU at UW is an important and inspiring story. This report examines the organization’s origins, activities, and successes, concentrating on the years 1967 to 1969. The BSU led a militant struggle for minority rights at the University. The results transformed the University of Washington, benefiting not just African Americans but also Chicano, Asian American, and Native students. The legacy of the BSU’s activism can still be felt today.